A trusted adviser

October 15, 2012 By    

When our company was making plans to install several 18,000-gallon propane storage tanks in the late ’70s, my wife asked, “What do you think the neighbors will say?” Because she was not directly involved in the business, I politely ignored her question.

When the tanks were finally delivered to the site, we were suddenly engulfed in a great deal of opposition. It became a big story in the local newspapers and on TV. We were sued by our neighbors, and that started a grueling six-year court process. The public was divided into three groups: those who supported us, those who didn’t care and those who felt that we were getting what we deserved. It was a strain on all of us. We eventually won the court case as well as the appeal.

At one point during this arduous process, I asked my wife, “Didn’t you say something when we first started, about how the neighbors might react?” She just smiled sympathetically. Listening to your wife’s cautions is a critical part of making wise business decisions. And it is a subject that you may never hear about in any business curriculum.

If this had been the only time that I had ignored my wife’s cautions, I might have thought it was just a lucky guess on her part. But, time after time, I have gotten what I thought were brilliant ideas, ignored her warnings and found myself in some sort of trouble. This pattern has also been repeated by others whom I have known. They usually have no idea why some of their projects have failed.

Another time, my wife and I met a local businessman at a social event. On the way home, she said, “I don’t trust him.” He seemed harmless enough, but several months later it became apparent that she had been right. So now, I keep a respectful distance from him.

So, before you make that next major business decision, be sure to run it by your most trusted adviser. – Ken Albrecht

Ken Albrecht is president of Reliable Propane in Clarence Center, N.Y. His blog appears at http://propanenotes.blogspot.com. Also visit www.reliablepropane.com.

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